I wish I had known all that I know now prior to becoming infected so that
I could have taken steps to prevent it. It is not enough to think, "Oh, I'll
worry about it when I get bit." If you wait that long, it's too late. And in some
cases, there is no cure....no returning to health. Even if you are fortunate
enough to successfully treat Lyme disease, there is always the chance of
reinfection. So, the more you learn and the more adamant you are with
prevention, the better off you will be.
Prevention begins with education. Learning how to protect yourself, how to
recognize symptoms, and what to do if you do find a tick or a bulls-eye rash
are important. Understanding how this disease works and why it is so difficult
to diagnose and treat is equally important. Please take the time to educate
yourself, family, friends, and medical professionals.
Diet and overall health is one of the most important parts of prevention
in my opinion. Making sure that your body is healthy and your immune system
is functioning to its fullest could save your life if you do become infected.
Personally, I believe this is the reason I was able to beat this disease so
quickly, regardless of being misdiagnosed for years. I also believe this is much
of the reason my symptoms remained minor for so long. It wasn't until my diet
and activity level declined that my symptoms quickly worsened.
Protecting yourself, your family, your pets, and your environment from
exposure is the next step. There are many methods to doing this, and all are
sound approaches. It is a matter of preference as to how far you want to go
and what products you choose to use. I would rather be over-cautious,
than take the risk of infection or re-infection, regardless of what other
people may think.
Understanding that Lyme disease exposure is not limited to common
"endemic areas" is crucial. Lyme disease has been found in all 50 states and
across the globe. Please review the LDA's Cases, Stats, Maps, and Graphs. You
are most likely to be bitten in your own yard or home and you can be
infected 12 months out of the year.
Ticks are not the only way you can get Lyme disease. An increasing
number of insects and arthropod vectors are known to be carriers including
mosquitoes, biting flies, fleas, and mites. In addition to deer: birds, mammals,
and rodents of all sizes can also be carriers of Lyme. The white-footed mouse
is the most common carrier.
When you or your family are outside, even briefly, use precautions and
thoroughly check for ticks. Inspect your outdoor space for prime tick spots
and make changes to lessen the likelihood of tick habitat and exposure. Make
sure to dress appropriately and use a repellent. Understand where ticks like to
hang out and be aware of your surroundings.
Your pets, especially if they go outdoors, can be prime suspects for
bringing ticks into your home. If they don't need to go outside, don't let
them. If they do, check them each time before you bring them back in the
house. Especially with dogs, people tend to be too lazy to check every time.
Dogs are more likely to become infected with Lyme disease than humans. And if
they bring them into your house, your whole family can become infected.
Remember, it only takes one tick.
If you do find a tick on you, a family member, or your pet, make sure you
remove it properly. Improper removal increases the chance of infection. Save
the tick and have it tested not only for Lyme disease, but the many
co-infections they carry as well. Remember, less than 50% of those
infected with Lyme disease see a tick or produce a rash, so DO NOT wait
to see if a rash appears.
Tick Identification can be helpful in determining the most common
co-infections that are carried, although testing is still recommended.
Depending on where you live, there are different types of ticks. Some are more
likely to carry specific co-infections than others. And some are more likely to
carry Lyme disease than others. Keep in mind that ticks come in all sizes. Some
are too small to be seen with the human eye. Knowing what to look for is
Understanding and being able to recognize symptoms is a big deal when
it comes to prevention. The earlier you recognize symptoms and get
treatment, the better your chances are of successful treatment. This is the
number one way to prevent Chronic or Late Stage Lyme disease.
Take precautions EVERY time. It only takes being infected once to disrupt
your quality of life and turn your world upside down. It isn't worth the risk.
Don't be lazy about it, and don't worry about what other people think. Protect
yourself, your family, and your pets.
I cannot emphasize education enough. It is the cornerstone to prevention.
Don't believe everything you hear, but KNOW for yourself. Learn as much as
you can. Educate others as much as you can.
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